The Covid-19 pandemic precautionary measures are being followed by every Australian family. However, by staying indoors for extended duration, your sense of isolation and boredom could be creeping in. If you are wondering about ways to stay connected with your friends and still feel safe, then this article is precisely for you. Read along and make the best of the tips shared by experts…
STUCK INDOORS WITH NOTHING MUCH TO DO?
According to a news article titled: The kid next door: Neighbourhood friendships on a comeback amid the coronavirus pandemic authored by Julie Wargo Aikins, published by CNN Health, there are a growing number of people who are seeking ways to stay connected and remain cheerful along with their neighbourhood friends. Julie Wargo Aikins is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, Wayne State University.
She states in the article: The school year is finishing, and many summer camps will be shuttered. Research shows that children with positive friendships feel less lonely, depressed and anxious and are less likely to get into trouble in their communities. In the coming months, encouraging children to find friendships close to home may combat feelings of social isolation and support feelings of social fulfilment. For some parents, this may feel reminiscent of their own childhoods, when rousing outside games of kick the can or red rover were interrupted only by parents’ shouts from the front porch that it was time for dinner.
The author gave a tip especially to the seniors, guardians and parents. She quips in the article that parents can support a shift to neighbourhood friendships by helping their children understand how to stay physically distant while being socially and emotionally engaged. Parents may form networks of social relationships with neighbours to help foster their children’s relationships and provide a safety net of monitoring. They may structure their children’s days, suggesting times for indoor and outdoor play as well as old-school games.
The author concluded that these approaches may allow children to ride out this crisis and, in the process, possibly revive the neighbourhood and revitalize the benefits of friendship that are found within it. Insightful, isn’t it!
NATURE CAN BE INSPIRATIONAL. JUST LOOK AROUND
According to Dr Ananya Mandal’s article titled ‘Mental health problems peak alongside COVID-19 in Australia’ published on new-medical.net, the author candidly opens up about a recent survey:
A total of 5,070 adults in Australia were included in this survey online. They were given self-report questionnaires that looked at behavioral responses and fears associated with Covid-19. Severe psychological distress including stress, anxiety and depression, anxiety due to health, fear of contamination, use of alcohol, and physical activity levels were also recorded.
It was found in the study that results showed that 78 per cent of the participants reported that their mental health problems had worsened during the outbreak and its peak. One in four (25.9 per cent) were very worried about getting infected, and one in two (52.7 per cent) were worried their friends and family would be infected. Nearly half were worried about loneliness, financial troubles, and uncertainty. Psychological distress levels were higher, with 62 per cent, 50 per cent, and 64 per cent of participants reporting raised levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, respectively. Health anxiety was raised in nearly a quarter of respondents.
Those who were already diagnosed with mental health problems had a higher level of anxiety regarding health and fear of Covid-19 compared to those who did not have baseline mental health problems. Some of the factors that were significantly associated with raised anxiety about health and psychological distress were: Different gender identity or non-binary gender and those who were carers or stay at home parents.
Some of the behavioural changes that were seen included repeated washing hands, use of hand sanitizers, and avoidance of social gatherings. Those who had a higher frequency of these behaviours were also found to have higher stress and anxiety levels.
In situations such as the cases stated above, it can get tricky to stay connected with friends during the pandemic. However, all hope is not lost. There are many activities that can be done to instil a sense of group fun.
GROUP FUN IS POSSIBLE WITH SESSIONS OF ART…
Teachers, health experts and administrative authorities are now pointing at adherence to precautionary norms with informed group connects. It is indeed possible to have fun by pre-planning the activity sessions by ordering painting kits from https://paintbynumbers.com.au/ or getting trendy artwork and deciding on the location by setting a common goal to achieve.
Author Samantha Selinger-Morris’ article titled ‘Drive-ins, painting and choir singalongs: how to be social in a pandemic’, which was published in The Sydney Morning Herald (smh.com.au) was widely appreciated for some easy-to-follow ideas and tips that can be followed by Australians during the pandemic to stay connected and happy.
To begin with, it’s important for you to know that you are not alone in this situation. Everyone is collectively in this together. There is strength in numbers. The author Samantha Selinger Morris included the following revelations by various people, who said: “There was moments I’d be like, ‘Oh my god, it’s overwhelming’,” says Sydney art teacher Gabbi Lancaster, of the online adult art classes she ran in April, and the constant messages she received on Facebook from members.
In fact, Lancaster is now running a weekly online adult art course on ‘intuitive painting’ and has found that it attracts friends who wish to join together. As a safety norm, most people sit afar and paint separately. Some take these sessions at the same time but in their own homes. They would then enthusiastically share their efforts on social media where they give each other constructive feedback.
The author pointed out to the joyful nature of Australians by sharing that most would continue to flock online for real-time choir singalongs on Facebook Live.
Singing together is another activity that can bring people together, even though the platform has been online, the forum has been common. These singers were enjoying each other through a creative pursuit from a distance.
FIND YOUR CREATIVE OUTLET
The pandemic lockdown effects are largely seen on young people as their school and college vacations is just being passing by with not much activity to do. In the same vein, an article titled: How young people are adapting to the challenges of living through a pandemic published on https://www.abc.net.au/ The author brings about some interesting facts to stay happy, involved and connected.
The article states that between working, exercising and focusing on creative projects, Emmett Graham, 22, feels like he’s handling life under Covid-19 pretty well. This Melbourne-based youth worker and university student has gone from working with young people in schools and the community to running workshops entirely online. He said a major part of the last few months has been helping teenagers and young adults develop new ways to take care of their mental health. “I think a lot of young people have been really struggling with what they could do and who they could talk to.”
The article cited that: For Emmett, keeping fit and having a creative outlet has been essential: “I really threw myself into exercise when lockdown happened.” Emmett also noticed as Covid-19 restrictions came into place a lot of his friends were trying their hand at something new, be it baking or learning how to play music.
“So, I started a project where I just got a bunch of different people who were learning new instruments or trying something out to send me little samples or clips, and I’ve been working on putting them all together,” he said.
PAINTING IS LIKE POURING YOUR HEART OUT
Apart from playing with your pets and taking the dog out at the same time, friends are able to maintain a distance whilst also being able to enjoy similar activities. One such amazing creative outlet has been possible through art and painting for a large group of kids and also teenagers. It is imperative that one creates a certain purpose in their thinking and work.
- Spruce up your neighbourhood with some art: Gather your friends and ask everyone to pick their painting kits. Plan to give a new look to the bare walls with some meaningful art. Paint your favourite animals, street art with messages or exceptionally good quotes for better living. Make sure you maintain a safe distance but remain in direct eye contact. Enjoy open-air art session together.
- Lift that fence up: Those gloomy looking fencings of your front porch has looked the same forever. Make your day by dressing it up with some craft and artwork. Get your paint brush out and begin the beautification plan.
- Involve your mother and form a nice neighbourhood circle of young kids and mom in pairs. Create amazing artwork with what inspires you and exchange creative inputs. Get an online Facebook page started to share the neighbourhood artwork. Give away prizes for the best work, it could be a painting kit available online at a discount on https://paintbynumbers.com.au/